Career Moves: German-speakers in the ethnographic field
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Since Georg Forster's account of his voyage with James Cook elevated him to the most popular writer in Germany, Germans became prominent among European scientific travellers. In many cases the entry into the ethnographic field proved to be a fruitful career move, opening opportunities for upward social mobility in a popular mood where 'Bildung' opened the path to gentility and redemption. This essay traces some individual careers to examine how the privations of periods in remote communities at the fringes of empire as ethnographer, missionary or collector might also be viewed as socially rewarding.
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